Maintaining our spiritual health is vital. It affects the health of the mind and body. Do you conduct routine spiritual maintenance? Do you know the signs you need a spiritual tuneup? Never fear. We have a checklist of things for you.
The modern world measures our worth based on our commercial output, our return on investment. It does not consider our health and welfare in the equation. To enjoy life, we need to be healthy. So we need to take time to perform routine maintenance of body, mind, and spirit. We need to learn the signs that tell us we need a spiritual tuneup.
Before we get to the checklist, let’s define the subject.
A Spiritual Maintenance Definition
Spiritual hygiene or maintenance involves doing what is healthy and eliminating those that are unhealthy. The formula is simple. This tuneup should be a part of your overall spiritual health plan. Does that make sense?
Maintaining the health of our spirit has a positive effect on the body and the mind. Some people need more maintenance than others because we can adopt unhealthy practices. Everyone should learn the warning signs that tell us we routine maintenance.
The spirit or soul is synonymous with consciousness. It’s who we talk to inside our heads, that part of our awareness that is experiencing reality. Some cultures call this The Observer. It is the real you. This aspect of consciousness has nothing to do with religion or the belief or faith in imaginary beings. Do you see this point? So our spiritual maintenance definition excludes organized religion as a viable source of healthy spiritual food. Fact is, it’s one of the things that cause problems.
Here’s an important point to keep in mind. Everyone you meet is traumatized. Everyone includes you. No one is exempt from emotional and physical injury. People act out of the pain from trauma, so it is important to deal with the underlying cause.
When To Go Offline for Spiritual Maintenance
Are you ready? Here are the common signs that tell us it is time for a spiritual tuneup (1).
Everyone has bad dreams. However, recurring nightmares are a sign of something you need to take care of. The issue behind the nightmare needs to be addressed. It won’t go away. When the same dream or same theme keeps coming up, it is the subconscious mind trying to get our attention. You know what the issue is, but you just have not dealt with it. Maybe you do not want to deal with it. Too bad. Your subconscious mind is telling you it is ready.
Nightmares sometimes appear as the symbol or typologies of the underlying issue. Other times, the dream is reliving past events. Nightmares are a common way post-traumatic stress surfaces. If self-care solutions are not enough, reach out to a professional counselor. Therapy can bring structure to the process of healing.
Traditional healers are another good alternative for healing emotional trauma surfacing in dreams. The Shamanic tradition has been used to treat the causes of nightmares for centuries, and it is where many of the techniques of modern psychiatry originate. They deal with dream through counseling and the use of the spiritual journey.
Thoughts of Revenge
If thoughts of revenge dominate your thought-life, it is a major sign you need to be offline for spiritual maintenance. This is a huge red flag. Unfortunately, most people who have these thoughts don’t talk about it. Retaliation does not make the pain go away. Sadly, they don’t make this discovery until after they have acted out.
Self-awareness is the key. If you realize that you are having thoughts of vengeance and retaliation, you can stop it. If you have enough self-awareness to realize these thoughts are harmful, you can direct your emotions in another direction. Ask yourself, why am I having these thoughts? What are the outcomes if I follow through? Understand it’s a sign of emotional trauma. Anger is a typical response to trauma, but acting out, it does not deal with the underlying issue. Hurting others because you hurt does not make the pain go away.
It would be ideal to find a qualified spiritual healer like a shaman. They can help guide you through the steps to confront the source of the trauma and deal with it. Professional counselors are also a good option. Talking with someone helps, as long as they do not encourage negative thinking. The more you dwell on things that cause you distress, the more likely you will act out.
We list revenge separately from the harmful thoughts and actions below for emphasis. Revenge is one of the “three greatest burdens” of the mind, along with regret and religion.
The fact is, religion is one of the leading causes of emotional stress and spiritual injury. The more exposure you have to organized religion, the more likely you are to suffer the effects. These effects include the eroding of your ability to use common sense and logic. People have real physical pain attempting to reconcile facts that contradict their beliefs. When people gather in groups, they are prone to act with a “mob mentality” and do things they would not normally do.
We’ll talk more about this situation under the spiritual maintenance checklist section.
Fear, Fatigue, and Apathy
Fear, fatigue, and apathy go hand-in-hand. It can start with any of the three. It becomes a vicious spiral, one leading to the other. We tend to overlook fatigue because it is nearly a pandemic in the modern world — the same for fear and apathy. We fear the future because of rising tensions in the culture. Our workplaces ignore these, focusing on getting the most return on investment before you burn out.
These are symptoms you need to be offline for spiritual maintenance. One of the best and least costly solutions to these three is unplugging from things for a while. Sometimes even a two or three-minute break is enough to rest your emotional equilibrium.
Forgetful, Defeated, Depressed, or Board
Boredom, forgetfulness, and defeat are negative aspects of your personality and instinctual stack. These are mind-numbing elements that trigger our basic fears. When we when we are not challenged and become bored, the mind wanders and shuts off. So, we blank out and thus become prone to forgetting things. Then we forget something important, and we feel defeated.
Depression is a common condition. It is driven by commercialism, which uses our fears to promote unrealistic and unhealthy ideals. Radical religious and political ideologies create conflict and tension.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 2016 show that 16.2 million U.S. adults have had a significant depressive episode in the last year. This represents 6.7 percent of the U.S. adult population.
Those who have moderate ongoing symptoms of depression are estimated at 20 percent. That means one out of five adults are considered “the walking wounded.” That’s a lot of hurting people.
Harmful Thoughts And Actions Toward Yourself or Others
A lot of our negative thinking comes from our inner critic. It is that aspect of our Ego that stresses the negative. The Ego does this to keep control. It sparks destructive behaviors and addictions. Harmful thoughts lead to harmful thought patterns which always escalate. We can become harmful to ourselves and others if we don’t find a way to intervene in this downward spiral. The negative behavior may start with verbal criticism and sarcasm, but this leads to yelling and demeaning. Then this escalates to paranoid behaviors, like stalking or violence.
Spiritual Maintenance Checklist
Now it’s time to discuss the best remedies for the above symptoms. Here’s how to repair and prepare our thoughts. When you treat your spirit, you often heal the mind and the body.
This kind of “checkup” isn’t something organized religions want you to do because they cause many of the problems listed above. So if your spiritual leader discourages you from using any of the remedies listed below, it’s a good sign that you are in an unhealthy place.
Let’s get started. You can give your spiritual maintenance meaning by making this checkup an annual event. These treatments fall into two categories, the things you should do and the things you should stop. First, the list of things you should do.
When you do something that is good for your soul, you’ll feel it almost immediately. But if it goes away quickly, it could be because you have something getting in the way. The things that get in the way of our soul maintenance are often things associated with habitual practices. Habits can also be or become addictions.
Things To Do
Our spiritual maintenance definition of things to do focuses on processes and methods which promote wellness.
1) The Shamanic Journey is probably the first spiritual technology ever developed, it uses sound and imagination to open the fifth state of consciousness. Michael Harner calls this the Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC). The use of a drum beat facilitates control of heart rate and breathing. Then, the imagination opens the subconscious mind to a landscape of primal symbolism. This frame of consciousness is what guided meditation is all about. It’s how to get the conscious mind offline for spiritual maintenance.
2) The mind is like a computer. If you unplug it for a few minutes and then restart it again, it works better. So, the simple two-step meditation technique is the quickest way to disconnect the active mind. This mind hack is the first go to remedy when you have any of the symptoms above (except for nightmares, of course).
3) Solitude. It’s even easier than meditation. Some people can do this in a group, but most of us will benefit from being alone. Solitude is not loneliness. Again, you can feel lonely in a crowd. Solitude gives us time to observe. It goes well with our next tactic.
4) Mindfulness meditation builds on the basic the two-step meditation. You can do this either seated or while moving; it’s an easy way to disengage from worry and stress. It’s one of the primary mental tools for the modern world.
5) Samadhi is the 4th state of consciousness, the transcendent state where we enter the sublime state of restful alertness. You can reach this state with Japa Meditation or the more commercially available Transcendental Meditation (TM). Both processes are the same thing.
6) Moving meditation is a great way to cultivate spiritual energy, it’s how we bring the grounding of seated meditation into action. When you engage in moving meditation, you are bringing the power of the transcendent into action.
7) Self-care is another essential element for repairing and recovering. The appropriate self-care relieves stress. Make sure the focus is on activities rather than merchandise.
8) The Enneagram personality profile is a tool to identify the thought scripts of personality and instinct. It helps us to distinguish between the programming that comes from the cultural narrative and the Ego.
Things to Avoid or Stop
1) Eliminate your exposure to groupthink manipulation. Organized religion is by far the most significant contributor to negative programming. 95% of negative social programming starts here. It is programming which contains sectarianism and religious bias that justifies discrimination and bigotry. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are the religions responsible for promoting everything from genital mutilation to genocide. Religious fanaticism is responsible for violence of all shapes and sizes. Stop supporting it.
2) Don’t watch or listen to propaganda disguised as news. Disinformation is harmful programming. An excellent example of this is the TV program Fox News. It is not news but religious-based propaganda.
3) Do not take on the role of a victim. It is not a healthy coping strategy. When you are a victim, you are more susceptible to the rhetoric of religious extremism and conspiracy theories.
If you have any of the symptoms above, please take time to go offline for spiritual maintenance. Don’t overlook the warning signs. If you need to rest and repair, then do it. You’ll be glad you did.
(1) Religion, Spirituality, and Health: The Research and Clinical Implications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671693/